after two millennia of disagreement on that subject among philosophers and theologians
n granting exceptions to the laws prohibiting use of psychedelics, the DEA makes exceptions for religious practices that they determine to be genuine. This raises an interesting question: how precisely does the DEA determine something that even great philosophers across the ages have been unable to agree upon, namely, which religions are genuine and why?
Not to worry. I have uncovered a government form that is apparently used by the DEA to make precisely the sort of metaphysical determinations mentioned above. So, theologians, take note: Here's what the DEA will be looking for should you ever happen to adhere to a religious belief whose ceremonials involve the use of plant life that the DEA has seen fit to criminalize.
DEA Form 8011-B-C-1
Guidelines for determining the veracity of a religious belief
In determining the authenticity of a religious belief, the DEA agent in charge shall consider the following points:
1) Is the claimant snickering at any time during the application process? If so, claim should ordinarily be rejected-- since we all know that real religion is a serious matter.
2) Is the claimant prone to excessive partying? This is often a red flag indicating that the exception seeker equates religion with hedonism, which again is against the Protestant Ethic -- er, I mean, the U.S. Government's ethical code of conduct, of course.
3) Does the claimant's religion accept (or plan to accept) "worshipers" from out of state? This is often a red flag, since it is well known that real religions -- with the possible exception of Rock Church -- are somewhat stodgy, formal affairs that are unlikely to inspire long-distance fidelity in the absence of questionable incentives. This in turn suggests that a large percentage of such a "church's" commuters will be winking lasciviously en route, salivating in anticipation of a tawdry "high," rather than rejoicing in the Blood of Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, without whom -- er, I mean as just one bona fide above-board REAL honest-to-God religious example, of course.
4) Does the claimant harp on and on about the fact that alcohol is addictive and kills thousands of people every year while we at the DEA are criminalizing plants that have been used for centuries in therapeutic ceremonies? Does he or she point out that LSD was used successfully to cure alcoholics, by no less a person than Bill Wilson himself of AA, before we in our wisdom shut down such therapies? Does the claimant dare to point out that the DEA permits the peddling of highly addictive anti-depressants by BIG PHARMA, while we are shutting down research on non-addictive alternatives from nature? If so, politely remind the claimant that it is our job to determine THEIR morality, thank them very much, not the other way around.
Psst! Hey, Job Seekers...
DEA Seeking Demigod to Rule on the Validity of so-called "religions." Must be willing and able to evince inflexible certainty on a topic that the world's greatest thinkers have disagreed about for millennia, namely what constitutes a true religion.
Author's Follow-up: April 7, 2023
April 7, 2023
Check out this informative piece from Doubleblind:
April 7, 2023
Drug prohibition and the DEA are doing more than outlawing religion. They're outlawing a whole way of seeing the world, not just individual religions. They're outlawing the way that William James saw the world, by outlawing the substances that gave him the visions that gave him his philosophy. They are outlawing my religion and way of life which both tell me that the mind and mood are my intimate companions, they are a part of me, they belong to me, and that my goal is to learn as much as I can, and that nature's medicines are godsends when used wisely, not devil spawn.
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.
It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company